Jerene Ang reflects on the advice from women leaders with examples of how it comes to life in the office.
In line with International Women’s Day this year, I had the opportunity to speak to more than 20 women leaders in various industries – from banking and finance, media, to hospitality and F&B – to seek their career advice for women aspiring to be future leaders. Looking back on their pearls of wisdom, three key themes emerged.
Take ownership of your career
Taking ownership of your career means finding reasons to grow and develop, asking for what you are worth, taking the opportunities you are given, and being bold enough to rise up to challenges.
For example, when our previous regional editor left to join her husband’s business, Aditi was appointed to the role after just five months of being with the organisation. While she was new to the magazine and the country (she had just moved to Singapore) at that time, she wasn’t afraid to take on the new role and challenges that comes with it.
Additionally, not to toot my own horn, but when our Hong Kong team needed someone to help out at last year’s Employee Benefits Asia conference, I seized the development opportunity and flew down on a public holiday to help host the event and moderate a panel. While I have since hosted many more events, that was the first time I had to host an event without on-site guidance.
Jozica Habijanic, head of strategic development at Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific, advised women to “be who you are, don’t try to fit in”.
Looking around at the women leaders around me (and Lighthouse has many of them), I see their advice come to life. Each of the female leaders at Lighthouse have different styles of leading, and they’re not afraid of being themselves.
In fact, the two women with the most contrasting leadership styles sit just next to each other – one is more assertive in her leadership while the other more nurturing. Despite their different styles, both are well respected leaders in the organisation.
As Angela Kelly, CEO of Lloyd’s Asia, advised: “Use mentors, plural, these can be formal or informal mentors and take what you like from each one to build your own brand and personal style.”
As mentioned in the previous point, thankfully, Lighthouse has many female leaders for me to look up to as I develop my career and build my personal brand and style. As I learn from each of them, I feel that I’ve grown leaps and bounds, becoming almost a completely different professional than when I first joined as an intern almost four years ago.
While the advice was given in line with Women’s Day, it is applicable for all staff, male or female.
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